January 13th, 2020  •  Software

Stripes x Software: What We've Been Up To

Written By

Stripes Software Team

Over the last several years, our team at Stripes amplified our efforts to partner with leading software companies. We want to share some of the progress we have made toward our goal of building one of the best platforms to support founders scaling transformational software companies around the world.

Origins

We founded Stripes in 2008 with the goal of investing in and supporting founders that are building growth-stage companies in rapidly transforming markets. At the highest level, the two areas that we have always found the most compelling are (1) technology and (2) consumer brands, because the swift pace of change in these sectors spurs innovation and opens opportunities for founders to create incredible products and businesses. On the technology side, it was clear since our inception that software would be a meaningful driver of value for businesses and in the early days of Stripes’ life we had the good fortune to partner with terrific SaaS companies like Flatiron Health as they transformed their respective industries.

Our Software Platform

Our team at Stripes has strong conviction that we are in the early stages of a macro shift towards greater software adoption. We have seen uptake accelerate as user expectations drive superior product quality, distribution costs decrease, and the value proposition of software becomes increasingly clear for companies of all types and sizes. This is true across businesses adopting cloud software for the first time as well as those moving from ‘v1’ solutions to products leveraging AI/ML to drive dramatically greater efficiency across their workforce. We believe these trends are permanent.

We also strongly believe that our consumer heritage makes us better software investors as fundamentals long important in consumer businesses become increasingly critical in building successful software companies:

  • Product: We have entered a phase of true product meritocracy, where the best software product with the best value proposition will almost always win
  • Go-to-market: Software buyers are better educated and are finding, evaluating, buying, and adopting products more like consumers; new distribution paradigms have emerged as companies become more marketing-led and focus on driving bottoms-up adoption
  • Brand: From SMB to enterprise, software markets are getting more competitive—a leading brand and differentiated message are critical to stand out from the fray and crystallize market leadership

Our consumer heritage makes us better software investors

Our mission is to be the partner of choice for category-defining software companies, so we leverage our Stripes Scale Team to de-risk execution at the growth stage:

  • Operating partners with C-suite experience that work closely with our companies to support execution across core functional areas:
    • Strategic finance & high velocity SMB: John Kinzer, formerly CFO of HubSpot and Blackboard
    • Enterprise sales: Paul Melchiorre, formerly CRO at Anaplan, President at iPipeline, SVP Sales at Ariba, and EVP Sales at SAP
    • B2B marketing: Riadh Dridi, CMO of Automation Anywhere, and formerly CMO of RingCentral and VP Americas Marketing at VMware
    • Brand strategy: Sharon Rothstein, formerly CMO of Starbucks and SVP Marketing at Sephora
  • Platform resources to support software companies on a rapid growth trajectory:
    • Talent: Four full-time members of our team that help our companies recruit world-class talent and advise on broader strategic topics like organization structure and compensation strategy
    • Capital markets: Expert assistance raising equity and debt so founders can focus on growing their businesses
    • Business development: Connections to high potential customers and partners organized via our dedicated network management platform
    • Operational finance: Our partner Jeff Pedersen brings hands on experience from companies like Amazon, IBM, Dell, and Handy to help our companies navigate the complexities of scale and maintain data-driven cultures
  • Cross-pollination events for executives across our consumer and software portfolio and broader network to share best practices, including annual Talent, CFO, CTO, and CMO summits and a dedicated technology platform designed to spur connectivity throughout the year

Our mission is to be the partner of choice for category-defining software companies

We strive to make every interaction with founders constructive and transparent, and we always invest in building relationships and doing our homework upfront so we can move swiftly and with conviction when a partnership opportunity arises.

A few of the areas we're currently interested in

The software market is evolving at a rapid pace and we constantly evaluate new segments in which to deepen our knowledge. These are a few of the areas our team has focused on over the last few years and selected investments we’ve made so far in each to provide a more concrete sense of how this work has manifested in new partnerships:

These are just a few of the areas we're excited about right now—if you have built a best-in-class product in any market and are looking to scale a high-growth software company we look forward to exploring how we might be able to lend a hand on the journey!